Critical promotion for Aussie wines

Australian wine critic, James Halliday, will visit Taipei from 9 to 12 December to promote premium Australian wines in Taiwan and China.

Halliday is the author of the ‘2009 Australian Wine Companion’ and ‘Wine Atlas of Australia’ and has written or co-authored more than sixty wine books within 30 years.

Austrade’s Taipei-based senior trade commissioner, Yvonne Chan, said that while Australian wine exports to Taiwan were strong, Halliday’s experience and capacity to teach consumers and wine writers about the subtleties and strengths of a wider range of Australian varietals could help to further boost wine exports to the region.

“Taiwan is an important wine market in its own right, with Australian wine exports worth $9.5 million in 2007 and 2008, making Australia the second largest wine import source with 11% of the imported wine market,” said Chan.

“Cultural similarities mean Taiwan’s wine critics also have a say in influencing consumer preferences in China. Most of the writers who will attend are regular contributors to both Taiwanese and Chinese wine publications,” said Halliday.

“It is well recognised that the future of Australia’s wine trade will be in the export of higher price point wines, as opposed to bulk wine exports.

“Taiwan has an affluent consumer demographic well-acquainted with quality wine, but often the best wines are chosen in combination with western dishes, focusing on the heavier reds, and not paired to the distinctive qualities of the local cuisine, which can suit a far wider range of Australian wines.”

As well as introducing a range of quality reds from famous premium wine regions, Halliday is also keen to help consumers and buyers understand that Australian wines, which often use screw caps, are less likely to be tainted by the cork mould which spoils around 10% of all wines, and affects the taste of an even greater percentage of cork-bottled wine.

“Australia has also taken the international lead on screw-top caps, which are incorrectly perceived by many consumers in Asia as a sign of poor quality,” he said.

“In fact, screw-top caps should be seen as being of particular value to buyers of premium and aged wines, because they protect producers, distributors, retailers and consumers alike from cork taint and oxidation.”

Two events will be held, a tasting night for Taiwanese industry stakeholders, as well as a special dinner for wine lovers that will match Australian wine to a selection of fine cuisine.

Chan said the strengths of Taiwan as an export destination for Australian wine exports were often misunderstood.

“Taiwan is Australia’s 8th largest trading partner, and per capita and companies-to-market comparisons indicate Taiwan can offer an easier first option to the region,” she said.

“In addition, economic ties with China have never been stronger, with China Taiwan’s largest trading partner. Given the close cultural similarities, exporting wine to Taiwan can help an Australian company also looking to China.”

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